We started the trip off by driving to approximately the midway point – Poncha Springs – where we saddled up and rode up from 285 along the road that parallels Silver Creek up to the Rainbow trail. Rainbow is great – 9 miles of buff, twisty singletrack. Pictured above are Sarah and Eszter about 7 miles into it, with Mt. Princeton in the background. The photo really does not do the scene justice, but it was pretty sweet.
I managed to wash out my front wheel and hit the ground HARD near the end of the ride, leaving me with a nice set of gashes on my knee and elbow and a bruised ego. Those ladies ride fast! In any case, we drove onwards and finally stopped to eat at a fine establishment called The Hungry Logger, which featured perhaps the most incompetently executed wood carving (of a logger, natch) I’ve ever seen. I was shocked to discover that the menu featured a veggie burger, with green chile strips, no less, and we actually had a decent meal. You could have knocked me over with a feather – we were really expecting standard hunting town fare – salty mush, iceberg lettuce, and blank stares when we asked if an item was veggie or not. The green chile was pretty bland, but c’est la vie. It’s not NM.
We finally arrived in Durango and found a place to crash at a CU team member’s house. Haven’t hung out with the 18-21 year old crowd in a long time, but mercifully they went to sleep by 1am. We woke up at 6:30 ready to go.
Sarah and I headed for the downhill race, while Eszter went to the short track (which, btw, she won). The DH course was interesting – it had been advertised as taking place on Log Chutes, a trail up Junction Creek road that’s not technical at all – I was expecting a long, pedally run with maybe a few waterbars or logs to jump over. The actual course, however, was a reclaimed mining road with a lot of babyheads and a fun small double, some loose corners, and lots of praying that you didn’t crash at 30+ mph. I think the course was about 2.5 miles long, and people were running 5 minute times – that’s fast. Sarah elected to race her rigid XC bike, because she hasn’t had enough time on her DH bike this summer to feel comfortable. I raced the big 7″ travel bike and got a lot of curious comments about the 29″ wheels.
Sarah had a good run and (we think, official results haven’t shown up yet) beat a couple of girls. I was having a great run about 2.5 minutes in (I could see the dust from my minute man!) spun out in my 38×11, really raging it (well, ok, by my standards) when I flatted my front tire. Doh. It was really a good course for the 29er – not too much super tight stuff, really rough, and really fast. And yes, the Nevegals failed me, but it’s my own fault for running 25psi – I should have bumped them up to 32 or even higher. About half of the men’s A (pro/semi/expert) field flatted as well, I’m told, so I’m not going to chalk it up as a defeat for the 29″ DH concept. I probably won’t make it to Angel Fire for final descent, so the DH bike might have seen it’s last competition for the year.
The XC race the next morning was rained out (the trails at Telegraph are pure clay) so we booked it back to the front range and salvaged a ride at Buffalo Creek. I can see why those trails are popular – non-technical and super twisty fun!
In any case, Wyoming is this coming weekend, so I imagine we’ll go hit at least the XC race. Maybe the Super D too – I always enjoy those.